‘Delighted to be back’ – Keiren Westwood on his Republic of Ireland call up and his role in Sheffield Wednesday’s defensive unit
Keiren Westwood is back and after Sheffield Wednesday’s defensive turnaround since he returned to the team in December, he’s here to stay.
Or he is until the end of the season at least, as the Owls push for a late play-off bid as part of their revival under Steve Bruce.
Since his return in the 1-0 win over Preston just before Christmas, Westwood has been between the sticks for an impressive ten league clean sheets and has been rewarded with a return to the international set up with the Republic of Ireland.
Speaking to the Star about his call up, Westwood said: "I am absolutely delighted. I had a phone call from Mick McCarthy when he first took over and he was really good with me. I know the goalkeeping coach there Alan Kelly. He has been in touch and I think he was at the Bolton match.
"He was there and gave me a text. I'm delighted. I love playing for Ireland so I am delighted to be back in there.”
Westwood is not the only member of the Owls defensive department to have been handed an international cap for the Euro 2020 qualifiers, as Liam Palmer started for Scotland in Thursday’s 3-0 humbling by Kazakhstan.
But despite a tricky debut, the Owls shot stopper says Palmer's call up is much deserved.
"The lads have done absolutely brilliant,” Westwood said.
"Liam has been outstanding at left-back. Dominic has slotted straight in and he is a big, athletic guy and so is Hector.
"The lads have been great and they listen which is really good. We have a really good understanding. We are there to help each other out and I am delighted to play with them.
"I am delighted for Liam. He has been brilliant since I came back in the team at the end of December.
“He has been fantastic. He has switched to left back. When I first came to this club, he played in central midfield.
“For him to drop into right back and perform as he has done and then to drop into left back like he has done, I can't speak highly enough of him. And he is a great lad as well.
"His versatility is a big asset for us. He can play in midfield and defence. You can't knock him. He has been great.”
Once Westwood returns from international duty, his full attention will be on Wednesday in their vital final eight matches of the season.
Beyond the end of the campaign however the future is uncertain for the 34-year-old, who is out of contract at Hillsborough this summer.
"No one has spoken to me about anything,” he said.
"I will just keep my head down and train and play and we will just see what happens.